On Aug. 23, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Your Way Café in Schoharie. Many of the restaurants, diners, and cafés the Old Men of the Mountain have on their rotational clock are places (when you are traveling) you might have a tendency to drive right by. They are local hangouts, but the meals are good.

Many travelers (the OFs included) are in this group of driving on by. But, and this is a big but, if these small out-of-the-way places have a good number of cars around them, it is a good bet the restaurant  has excellent diner food at reasonable prices.

One OF remembered a trip to the Civil War battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania where the OF said he and his wife took advantage of arriving early and signing up for a park ranger to drive their car around the site.

At that time, the charge was not very expensive and the ranger was with the OF for the whole morning. The OF asked the ranger where there was a good place to eat, and the ranger told him of a little place in town.

This place was within walking distance of the parking lot but not the direction the tour buses and tourists went.  In fact, it was just about 180 degrees the other way out of town. The OF said when they got there it was full of locals, and not a tourist in sight.

It was not fancy, the food was great, and it was inexpensive, just like the OMOTM’s roundtable of eating establishments.  The Your Way Café is just one of those along with all the others. (This is not a paid advertisement — just the facts ma’am).

Flying pests

Are the Canada geese gathering early to go downstate? The OFs have noticed the geese cueing up. The OFs think these birds are getting so people-friendly they are becoming about as much of a nuisance as the droppings these feathered manure spreaders leave behind on their visits.

One OF thought they are about as dumb as mourning doves; at his place it becomes necessary to shoo them out of the way before he can open the car door. They also parade up the OF’s driveway at a goose’s pace and don’t move right or left. These flying pests must think the honking of the OF’s horn is a mating call.

One OF suggested shooting a couple of these birds and putting them in the freezer for Thanksgiving. This OF also suggested he could pass them off as turkey when the holiday rolls around because no one would know the difference, just like making all your coffee decaffeinated and giving it to people who drink regular — most don’t know the difference anyway.

The question still remains: Are the geese cueing up early, and may this be an indicator to the coming winter? Only time will tell.

Scottish Games

This Labor Day weekend, the Scottish Games will be held at the Altamont fairgrounds. The OFs were talking about this because one of our members is really involved with this event.

One OF mentioned one time taking a couple of friends to the games on Saturday (the games are a weekend event) and the OF, his wife, and the couple had a great time.  On Sunday, this couple decided to go back to the games.

Lo and behold, one came back (the macho one) with a complete outfit (starting with the kilt) right down to the scabbard and knife in the sock. Some sutler (camp vendor) was glad to see this couple stop at his fly.

Senior Day at the Altamont Fair

Discussions about experiences at the fair continued from last week’s talk of experiences at the fair. What could be gleaned from all this talk about the fair has nothing to do with the fair but the truth is that the OFs are getting old.

The discussion was about how long it took the OFs to get around the fair, and the people they met sitting on the benches. One good reason for this is that many of the OFs went on Senior Day, so what did they expect to see other than more seniors wandering around the fair looking at stuff and commenting, “Oh, we had this (or that) when I was young.”

Some even said that some of the items came after they were young; they were using older items than those on display when they were younger.

Some OFs were heard to say, “Look Mildred, there we are,” and the retort, “Look, you old goat, that’s us” as they watched other older couples walk by with their canes, arm in arm, helping each other tour the grounds. The OFs are wondering if the older generation is getting more numerous, or is it that the OFs hang out with other OFs so everybody seems old?

As mentioned, this was Senior Day and, if the OFs were to go on a Friday night, they might be out of place. The OFs would see all the young people showing off their skimpy clothes with their belly buttons hanging out and many of these buttons should never see the light of day.

“That could be why they are out at night,” one OF added.

Maybe the OFs should start dressing like that — this would then scare the living daylights out of the younger generation and in defense they would start covering up. The OFs can hear it now: “Grandma, you can’t dress like that and go out!”

The OFs can hear the reply, “Hey kid, it is not illegal; Grandma can strut her stuff too, you know.”

The guys are just as bad, with ratty-looking beards on guys who, if they lived to be 100, could never grow a beard. They sport unwashed hair, and butt cracks are on display.

So here comes Grandpa at the fair, with at least a beard that is a beard, unwashed hair, teeth out, and hairy butt crack on display. The OFs bet that, if there were parades of the kids’ parents, and grandparents in the attire some of the kids wear, there would soon be an end to the strange get-ups that can only appeal to those who are dressed like them.

This scribe didn’t even mention the tats that will soon be nothing more than black blobs. The fair is a lot of fun sometimes, just for sitting on a bench and watching humanity pass by. Ah yes, and the OFs are part of it.

Proprietary products

The OFs elevated their topic of discussion to proprietary products. Manufacturers that make a product many other manufacturers make will construct this merchandise so that the expendable parts fit only their machine, or product.

The OFs discussed lawn mowers in particular. Most all rotary mowers use blades; the way blades are attached to the machines are all different.

Some have a hole; some have a diamond; some have a helix; some have a large hole with two smaller holes, or even three smaller holes; some are raised in the center — it goes on and on. The OFs think there should be one type of blade that is universal to all mowers.

There is so much more that this can apply to. The OFs were thinking of chainsaws and proprietary chainsaw blades. So much of what many products use are expendable and have no real function in how these creations work, the OFs are wondering why this can’t be done.

Look what happened to Kodak, Polaroid, Beta, and many other companies because they were bull-headed and insisted that their expendable products would only work on their equipment. They then constructed their own goods so other manufacturers of expendable equipment would not work on their equipment.

One OF who works on lawn mowers brought up not only blades, but drive wheels on self-propelled lawn mowers (for the most part) being different. “They all do the same thing,” this OF said, “One does not give better performance than the other — just like blades.”

A second OF said this can carry over into so many other products like vacuum cleaners, coffee makers, mixers, and many household products, and even tools.

All aboard

The discussion changed to boats as one OF told of going to a regatta in the Thousand Islands. The OF reported taking a ride in a seven-passenger Hacker boat — exactly what model he did not say. (This scribe was sent to the Internet, and searched Google images for Hacker boats.  Wow! What boats!)

The OF reported that, on the trip, they came upon a large tanker plying the river and the ship was generating a huge wake. Judging by how high the OF held his hands from the floor, the other OFs estimated the wake was four to five feet, and the OF reporting the story said the waves from the wake were close together.

He noticed that the pilot of the boat made no attempt to maneuver away from the wake; instead, he headed right into it. close to the ship itself. The OF also said the pilot did not gun the engine to raise the bow of the Hacker so he hit the first wave dead on.

The OF said the second wave washed over the boat and soaked everybody, plus this wave placed a couple of inches of water into the boat. The OF said he asked why this pilot made no maneuvers to avoid the wake, or why he did not gun the engine to raise the bow. The pilot answered only one of these questions and said gunning the engine on a Hacker does not raise the bow.

The OFs were wondering how old this skipper was and if that tactic was not maybe just a tad on the deliberate side. The OFs hoped this OF did not tip the pilot.

Now for the alibi report and this scribe’s wife suggested that it should be reported everyone was here but it’s easier to look it up and report who was not here. This scribe thought that would not sit well with law enforcement. All the OFs who got up and made it to the Your Way Café on a beautiful day were: Miner Stevens (who opened the place up), Roger Chapman, Henry Witt, Bill Bartholomew, Dave Williams, Bill Lichliter, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Pete Whitbeck, Chuck Aelesio, Richard Frank, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Tanner Spohn (Mark’s grandson), Roger Shafer, Gerry Irwin, Mace Porter, Wayne Gaul, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Jim Rissacher, Don Wood, Sonny Mercer, Duncan Bellinger, Bob Benninger, Bob Fink, Herb Sawotka, Art Frament, Gary Bates, Bob Benac, Rich Donnelly, Bob Lassome, Ted Willsey, Duane Wagonbaugh, Mike Willsey, Gerry Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Harold Grippen, and me.

Location:

Tuesday, Aug. 16, the Old Men of the Mountain were sitting on the benches of the Country Café in Schoharie waiting for the proprietors to open the doors.

So often it is said, “You can take the boy out of the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the boy.”

Another take on the saying can be, “You can take the man out of the military, but you can’t take the military out of the man.”

Each of those scenarios require both the man and the boy to get up early. So there they are — OFs waiting for the restaurant to open.

One OF showed up with a box of new hats for the OMOTM, so you may see more of the gray and black hats with the “OMOTM” letters on them. When you see some OF with one of these hats on, be kind to him, because that person will fit the first two letters, Old and Man.

This gentleman may be wobbly on his feet (though not drunk) or he may walk into the wall and miss the door because he has only one eye that works most of the time, or he may know you and then again might not, or he may be wandering around the parking lot looking for his car, and then again he might be standing right beside it and not know it.

He may even be trying to get into your car thinking it is his and giving you an argument. If you happen to notice he has on one of the gray and black hats with the OMOTM label, take it easy on him; the OF is doing the best he can.

The hat advertises that the person under it has eyes that may be a little dimmer, the hearing may be fading a bit, the gait may be slower, but the heart beats with the same passion for living as it did 50 years ago.

One OF suggested that there should be a club in school that researches the elderly in the community and helps them out with routine chores. Another OF thought that there are such clubs, and maybe the OFs are too active for these clubs to notice.

However, it would be nice if a club researched and found older people still quite ambulatory but living alone and then these younger folks could go mow their lawns, help with cleaning their houses, and even perform some simple routine maintenance like changing light bulbs, give painting a touch here and there, and fix the broken hinge — things like that.

In cleaning the house, this club would really be a big help because there comes a time in the aging process where the older people may be able to get down but getting up is another matter. Scrubbing the tub and shower is one chore that requires the getting down and getting up.

The OFs say it is just a thought, and, like one OF mentioned, in many places this type of volunteering may be going on, but it gets no press.

Fond fair memories

It is fair time and the OFs discussed these country fairs, for example, what they are now and what they used to be. The OFs can’t relate to the fair as it is now and one OF assumed it’s because we are of another generation, to which this scribe suggested he try another word here because it is likely more than one generation. The OFs are so antiquated that generations is a more likely word.

The complexions of the communities have changed from agricultural to suburban.  Farms are few and far between, half the people attending the fair (the OFs think) only know a cow from picture books and probably think chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

To which one OF told the story of how his brother brought some friends of his from college home to their farm in Schoharie. They were from the city, and the OF said his brother had them convinced that this cow story was, in fact, the way it was.

This farm had a mixed herd, and some of these cows were Jerseys (one of the smallest breeds of dairy cattle and definitely brown in color). The OF had his father place some cocoa at the bottom of a bucket and then the OF’s brother hand-milked a Jersey and the milk turned, you guessed it, brown.

In the milkhouse, the OF’s brother had a strainer on a milk can with a taped-on sign noting, “This can for chocolate milk only.” The OF wonders if those two guys still think chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

The OFs remember showing animals and bringing produce to the fair. They remember their Future Farmers of America projects at the fair, having their crafts presented in the 4-H building, and their parents working together with other farmers on their Grange presentations. Spending the week at the fair, taking care of the livestock, was tons of fun.

The OFs hope the fairs keep on going so their grandkids can have the same experiences; most will. However, it is more likely some of these programs will be offered in different ways.

Things have changed a lot in the generations the OFs have trod this planet. At one point, the OFs who are Catholic discussed how they had to behave and how they had to dress at the parochial schools they attended as youngsters.

One OF said he doesn’t think that has changed much over the years. The OFs knew that they had to wear knickers, shirts, and ties — and boy! when a nun spoke, the OFs listened.

The OFs remembered practicing the Palmer method to learn cursive writing. One OF said he does not think that many kids today write in cursive.

Another OF said, watching the kids today, he thinks that over the years the pointer finger and the index finger will turn into thumbs. Another OF added he didn’t think so; the technology of today is moving so fast that the technology of tomorrow won’t require thumbs.

Some of the OFs said that is the way the fair will go; if it is to maintain itself, it has to cater to the younger generation. The OFs are now out of the loop even though they hope that in some places there will still be the old-fashioned country fair.

Casino debate

Along with a lot of people in the area, the OFs joined in the discussion on the casino that is being built in Schenectady. Some think it will work fine; others think it is going to bring problems.

Some OFs think it will hurt Saratoga, and also the Turning Stone casino. One OF said there is only a certain number of gamblers to go around. Another OF added he thinks there will be quite a marketing attack to entice younger people to take up the habit so they can introduce more people to gambling in order to have a larger gambling pool.

One OF said that he has heard that there are some that are going to run river cruises from the New York City to the casino. That, to some OFs, sounded like a neat idea and will probably work, although one OF said that will be more than a day trip to the casino.

A boat coming up the river from New York City and that area is not going to be like coming by train or bus.  A boat will take awhile and, unless that is one really fast boat, those people will have to stay over.

Wild weather

The OFs were discussing the recent weather disasters, and they really are disasters, bombarding the South with the rains coming from the Gulf, and the fires in the West that are burning up half the state of California.

The views they show on the news remind the OFs of Katrina, and our own Tropical Storm Irene. The water in Louisiana nobody can do anything about.  If it is going to rain, it is going to rain, but the fires in California appear to have been set.

The OFs are not too sure about that yet but the authorities allegedly have an arsonist in custody. If this is proven to be true, what damage this guy has done! One OF said they are going to need a small army to protect this character because there are thousands of people who will want to hang him from one of those burned-out trees.

One OF said he wouldn’t want to wade in the waters in Louisiana because he would be afraid of running into a snake or an alligator trying to get to the same high ground as he was.

“That is one thing we don’t have to worry about with floods in our neck of the woods,” an OF added.

“Where does all this water go down along the Gulf?” one OF asked. “That area is already at sea level. It can’t run off; it has to sink into the ground or evaporate. I will take a good old snowstorm on my mountain any day.”

The OFs sitting on the benches in front of the Country Café in Schoharie added a touch of yesteryear to the streets of Schoharie as they watched a man travel to each hanging plant that lined the streets, watering them. This would be reminiscent of early risers watching the old lamplighter putting out the lamps in the morning. The OFs that gathered there were: Miner Stevens, Bill Lichliter, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Roger Chapman, John Rossmann, Dave Williams, Harold Guest, Bill Bartholomew, Marty Herzog, Chuck Aelesio, Richard Frank, Roger Shafer, Bob Benac, Art Frament, Roger Fairchild, Herb Sawotka, Jim Rissacher, Mace Porter, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Gerry Irwin, Wayne Gaul, Duncan Bellinger, Joe Bender, Rich Donnelly, Don Wood, Sonny Mercer, Bob Lassome, Duane Wagonbaugh, Ted Willsey, Bob Benninger, Bob Fink, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.

Location:

On Tuesday, Aug. 9, as the summer marches on, the Old Men of the Mountain met at Mrs. K’s Family Restaurant in the heart of the village of Middleburgh.

At one time, the OFs discussed driving — not actually driving — but driving directions. This topic is great fodder for cartoonists and movies but in this case many of the situations people get into is like art imitating life.

To illustrate, one OF directed another OF on how to get to a particular place and the OF who needed the direction did not completely understand these directions. The phenomenon of not clearly understanding with the OFs is common because many can’t hear, and those who have hearing aids don’t have them in or on.

The OF will go to another OF and ask for directions to the same place, and the directions the second OF gives makes the original OF wonder if they are talking about the same location.

Then the two OFs who know how to get to the setting the OF wants to go to start arguing about which way is the best way. When this happens occasionally a third OF will enter the fray.

Now this OF was never asked how to get to the particular spot in question but he comes up with a totally different way to get there. No wonder the OFs are lost most of the time.

One OF made a statement that is very true.  All three ways may get you there and each way may be the best to each OF because they are familiar with that particular way, which is why it seems shorter and the best, when, in fact, it may be the farthest in distance and longest in time.

Taking a trip to Florida brings this discussion to some real interesting ways of getting to a familiar area like Daytona Beach.  Going to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina the way the one OF is used to going is always the best even if it fits the above criteria of being the farthest and longest.

It is what the OF is used to, so trying to change the OF’s mind to your way at best is a waste of good lung usage. The arguing OF can haul out all the Google trip maps, regular maps, AAA triptiks, and GPS directions he wants, but the OF still thinks his way is best and that is the way he is going to go.

To quote Hillary, “What difference does it make?” The OF is going to get there anyway.

Then there is the more adventurous OF who tries a different way, or combination of ways each time he heads south, just to see and experience something a little more stimulating.  Others are so set in their ways that they stop at the same points and stay in the same motels so the whole trip feels more like the OF is on his home turf.

This way everything is familiar — the gas stations, the rest areas, etc. — so the OF knows what to expect. There is something to say for both sides of the discussion; it depends on the OF’s temperament.

Face-to-face fun

To continue on with previous reports of life in the Hilltowns in the forties, fifties, and early sixties, and discussions of ice ponds, the fact was brought out that Knox used to have an ice pond for ice in the winter and recreation in the summer. The OFs, when they were kids, in the summer would head to the swimming hole and hang out and have fun, whether it was the pond in Knox, or Fox Creek in Gallupville, or any clean farmer’s pond that would be handy.

In that period, the OFs would talk and socialize face to face, and could carry on a conversation with an adult. The OFs lament that today very few kids can tell a story, or associate with an adult, and they seem to have trouble looking the OF in the eye.

Luckily, however, there are some that can still do this, that is, carry on a conversation that makes sense and is coherent. One OF said this is just an observation not a complaint; if the OFs were young, they would be just like the kids the OFs are commenting on.

The Old Men of the Mountain who made it to Mrs. K’s in Middleburgh this Tuesday were many. The scribe does not know why so many were there.  The scribe could only assume that it was to establish an alibi of some sort, to escape from an upset ex, or a really, really upset suitor of someone the OF was getting to know too well, yet it may be just to get out of chores, better yet avoid a bill collector, or a summons processor.

For whatever the reason there were many OFs at the restaurant and they were (Are you ready for this?): Dave Williams, Roger Chapman, Miner Stevens, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Don Wood, Sonny Mercer, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Jim Heiser, Chuck Aelesio, Marty Herzog, Bill Lichliter, Roger Shafer, Otis Lawyer, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Wayne Gaul, Lou Schenck, Jim Rissacher, Mike Willsey, Warren Willsey, Elwood Vanderbilt, Richard Vanderbilt, Jess Vadney, Bob Benninger, Bob Fink, Duncan Bellinger, Joe Bender, Bill Bartholomew, Pete Whitbeck, Rich Donnelly, Bob Lassome, Duane Wagonbaugh, Ray Gaul, Art Frament, Bob Benac, Ted Willsey, Richard Frank, Roger Fairchild, Harold Grippen, but not me.

Location:

The Old Men of the Mountain can’t believe it but it is August already, and on Aug. 2 the OMOTM met at the Middleburgh Café in Middleburgh. Patches of fog, and a freshly scrubbed Earth greeted the OFs as they made their early morning trek to the Middleburgh Diner.

The OFs talked about the storm that hit on last Tuesday morning — it was a waker-upper. The storm was gone when it became time for the OFs to hit the highway to apply the fuel at breakfast for the OF’s energy.

One OF summed up what many other OFs have said, i.e., the rainy days were much needed but the timing was miserable.

Another OF said, “Our area may have its share of the aforementioned miserable weather, but we don’t really have miserable weather like many other parts of the country — just listen to the news.”

Fake greenbacks

The news has reported the existence of counterfeit money in Schoharie County. At least that is as far as it has gotten.

One OF had the experience of receiving a counterfeit $10 bill in change in Schoharie County but he did not realize it until he went to use it.  Then, the person receiving the bogus bill was more astute than the one who it was given to in Schoharie County.

The OF said they confiscated his 10 dollars. The reports advised the money being passed were $10 and $10 bills.

One OF said he wasn’t sure of this but he did not think it was being generated in Schoharie County.  This OF thought the funny money was coming up from New York City via Route 145.

Another OF blamed it on the college kids not being crooks, but being cute. If it is a college town and anything goes wrong, blame it on the kids. Well duh, it is generally a good place to start because many times it is kids just trying to see what they can get away with.

Alphabet-soup chemicals

The OFs joined in a discussion of chemicals with strange sounding names which are reduced to letters, like PFOAs and PCBs.  There is also lead and asbestos. The OFs have ingested these chemicals and never knew they were harmful until recently.

This column has listed some of these various substances before like mercury, and lead and asbestos. Now the OFs have to add the PFOAs in Teflon, and the PCBs in the rivers and streams — let alone the runoff from pastures and barnyards that made it to the streams.

How much of this is really as harmful as many say may be questionable. The OFs have a rather high number for an average age and we have been subjected to all this stuff.

One OF said, “Maybe it’s not good and, if someone is susceptible to any of the chemicals in question, it’s probably a good idea not to use these particular chemicals.”  

To that, another OF said, “Many of these chemicals, when developed, are considered to be the best thing since sliced bread and at the time are not known to cause any problems. In some cases, problems arise much later on.”

“Yeah,” one more OF piped up. “Whoever knew that the manure we spread on the fields for fertilizer would cause problems when it got into the water.”

“Heck,” was the reply, “we used to swim in the cow pond.”

“You are lucky,” an OF answered back.

One OF remembered how some young people were getting sick in Esperance in the 1940s and ’50s and the local doctor, Dr. Walker, traced it to swimming in the Schoharie Creek, which the doctor said was polluted from manure being put on fields by the creek.

The runoff from this manure eventually ran into the creek. The doctor had the health department shut the creek down to fishing and swimming and the sickness stopped.

That was a long time ago; however, from the astuteness of one small-town local doctor, the problem was known but nothing seemed to come from that until much later on when people started correlating what was going on around the creeks and rivers to people’s health.

An OF added, “And we still haven’t cleaned up many of these bodies of water.”

Small world

The OFs are a traveled lot, which this scribe has mentioned before. At the breakfast Tuesday morning, it was found that many of the OFs have been to the same places at different times and found how interesting it is to find people all over that are from this region.

Many of these people are living in the areas the OFs are visiting, and some of these places are just stopovers and not the final destination of the OF and are not tourist areas.

Checking in at a halfway point motel on the way to the vacation area XYZ, the clerk in the motel says, “Oh, I see you are from Berne, do you know (fill-in-the-blank)?”  The OF says, “Yes I do,” and the clerk says, “They are my cousins; I am from Coxsackie.”

Or another case of being in the deep South, and a guy working in the store reads the name on the OF’s hat and pronounces Cobleskill right. Right off the bat, the OF knows this guy has been there; after some small talk, the OF finds out the guy owns the place but he had once worked in Cobleskill, moved south, and bought this little shop. It’s a small world after all.

Those OFs who travel all over but on this particular Tuesday traveled to the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh were: Jim Rissacher, Mike Willsey, Jess Vadney, Richard Vanderbilt, Elwood Vanderbilt, Bob Fink, Bob Benninger, Henry Whipple, Rich Donnelly, Duane Wagonbaugh, Bob Lassome, Ted Willsey, Don Wood, Sonny Mersa, Bob Benac, Joe Ketzer, Art Frament, Mace Porter, Wayne Gaul, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Marty Herzog, Dave Williams, Miner Stevens, George Washburn, Bill Bartholomew, Roger Chapman, Pete Whitbeck, Bill Lichliter, Robie Osterman, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Harold Grippen, and me.

Location:

Where were you on July 26, 2016? We know where most of the Old Men of the Mountain were — they were at Kim’s West Winds Diner on Route 145 in Preston Hollow.  

When the OFs first traveled to Kim’s, those that came over the mountain from Rensselaerville mentioned how beautiful the view is on top of the hill on Route 359 looking towards the Catskills. Early Tuesday morning it was clear with low humidity, with patches of fog in the valley and the mountains appeared as if they were no more than a few yards away.

There is a small area there where a car can pull off and take in the vista. Tuesday morning, we spotted someone doing just that and the occupant was taking pictures.

The OFs, without prompting or pre-conversations, had part of their discussions on just that subject, alluding to the fact that much of the scenery in New York State is unequalled. The OFs mentioned boat rides down the Hudson River and taking in the sights from Athens, or Coeymans, to at least the Saugerties Lighthouse and how spectacular this trip on the river can be.

One OF reported making that trip in his boat and managing quite a sunburn as a reward for the trip sometime last week.

This led to some discussion on the river itself and its tides. One OF reported the tide being as high as four feet at Troy. Then other OFs joined in; these OFs have had time to watch the river from various points.

One OF mentioned that it takes seven days for an object to pass a point, any point, on the river. We do not know if this OF read this somewhere or sat for seven days on the bank of the river and actually calculated it.

The OF’s information was backed up by other OFs who have witnessed large objects moving back and forth on the river. One OF reported sleeping on his boat in Athens and in the morning seeing a huge tree with half the root system protruding out of the water flowing right towards his boat. He said before the tree reached the boat it stopped, and then started floating backwards as the tide came in just in time.

Still another OF reported eating at a restaurant in Kingston during the winter at lunchtime with a friend, watching ice floe (ice float) go down the river. A very large section of ice that stood out because of its size slowly moved along with the rest of the floe until it went out of view because it was out of the scope of the window.

As the OF and his friend were finishing up their lunch they looked out the window and the friend said to the OF, “Isn’t that the same chunk of ice that went down just awhile ago going back up the river?”

The OF said, “Isn’t the whole ice floe going up the river now?”

The waiter mentioned that this was the third day that floe of ice had gone by the window. Maybe the OF talking about the river taking seven days to clear a given point on the river is right. The OFs really don’t know.

Another OF mentioned that is why the Hudson River sloops worked. The river boats would use sail and tide to move produce up and down the river with ease

Then an OF mentioned that the river from Troy down to New York City is not a river; after the last glacial period, the river became an estuary (which, according to Wikipedia, is the tidal mouth of a large river, where the tide meets the stream) and this eventually becomes a fjord (a long narrow inlet with steep sides, created by glacial erosion).

It is a river from the Adirondacks to the tidal area, and then the river becomes a fjord. One OF did a painting of the glacial period and claims it is one of his favorite. It is of the Hudson when it was part of the great Albany Lake’s floor.

The great Albany Lake was formed in the proglacial period when an ice jam and its debris formed a dam below Newburgh and backed the river up almost to Lake Champlain. According to the OFs, there are reports that this phenomenon created one of the most beautiful parts of the country after it finally drained.

There! Now through the OFs you know more than you want to know — the OFs in their discussions have once again offered TMI (too much information). How much of it is true only the OFs know from their living experiences what is or what may not be so.

This scribe must add that the OFs have boats, not yachts. This scribe does not know of any OF who could afford a yacht. Traveling with the OFs in their boats requires the knowledge of how to use a bucket from which to bail out the boat from time to time.

Celebrating ice harvests

In the heat of summer, as it has been, the OFs began talking about ice houses, and how many of them remember cutting ice from a pond and storing it between sawdust, or layers of straw in ice houses on the farm to keep perishables edible throughout the summer.  Some farmers used this ice in the milk coolers to keep the milk fresh until it could be picked up and taken to the creamery.

One OF reported that, in the town of Kortright, in Delaware County, they still do this and make a day of it where people can go and participate in the ice harvest. One OF mentioned that there are other areas in New York and New England where they have such days.

“There is really lots to do,” one OF said, “other than walking around with your nose stuck to a 4-by-6- inch screen.”

“Now, now,” came an answer. “If you were 12 or 13, that is where your nose would be.”

Those OFs who took time to stash their oars, and make it to Kim’s West Wind Diner in Preston Hollow (which, by the way, has the Catskill Creek running right in back of it, but at this point of the creek it is not navigable so they would have to beach their canoes and hike) were: Miner Stevens, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Bill Lichliter, Dave Williams, Bill Bartholomew, Pete Whitbeck, Roger Shafer, (with his son Mike Shafer, and grandson Colin Shafer), Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Marty Herzog, Don Wood, Jim Rissacher, Wayne Gaul, Mace Porter, Lou Schenck, Herb Sawotka, Joe Ketzer, Roger Fairchild, Ted Willsey, Bob Lassome, Bob Benninger, Bob Fink, Elwood Vanderbilt, Richard Vanderbilt, Jess Vadney, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, and me.  

 

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